On Saturday, my son went to visit the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and while he was learning about the music department, my husband and I went to The Eric Carle Museum which is just a few miles down the road from UMass. I had been eagerly anticipating our visit because the museum’s current exhibit is: Some Book! Some Art!: Selected Drawings by Garth Williams for Charlotte’s Web. Regular readers of this blog know that Charlotte’s Web is my favorite book in the whole world, and Williams’s elegant – and often funny – drawings are a central part of a story that has touched millions of readers.
A note before I write any more about the exhibit. I took pictures with my cell phone – completely and genuinely unaware that cell phone photography was not allowed. I thought cell phones were exempt from the photography rule, and I wanted to “keep” some of the art we saw. If you see the exhibit (which runs through April 21), keep your phone in your pocket!
But since I have a few pictures, I’ll share them. Let’s start at the beginning:
There are about 30 drawings in the exhibit and a few preliminary sketches that show the artist’s process. In my opinion, this is the most beautiful drawing:
There are many memorable images in the exhibit, including a sweet picture of Wilbur crying when, before meeting Charlotte, he was “friendless, dejected and hungry.” Especially interesting are the artist’s notes to himself; there are numerous sketches with notes about what to include or change.
The other current exhibition at The Carle is Iconic Images: Ten Years of Collecting for The Carle, an exhibit (running through March 10) that celebrates the Museum’s 10th anniversary. It is truly an exhibit of wonders – featuring work by Maurice Sendak, Mo Willems, Arnold Lobel, Rosemary Wells and Jerry Pinkney, among others. Two of my favorites from the exhibit were works by Mo Willems and Leo Lionni.
Mo Willems/Preliminary Study for back cover
Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
Leo Lionni/Tillie and the Wall
There are always good exhibits at The Carle. If your spring or summer travel plans include a visit to Massachusetts, it is worth finding your way to Amherst. Here’s a link to the museum’s website: